Marissa DeCaro

Marissa DeCaro

University of New Hampshire

Communication Sciences and Disorders


Mentor: Dr. Robert Ross, Department of Psychology

Examination of the relationship between resting state EEG neural oscillations and lexical semantic retrieval in mild traumatic brain injury

Mild traumatic brain injury is an impact to the head that occurs and causes neurological symptoms for any period of time. The impact to the head can cause disruptions in structural brain networks, including white matter tracts. Mild traumatic brain injury may lead to cognitive function deficits, including language related abilities. The current study aims to assess how brain network activity is related to lexical semantic retrieval, a critical component of language comprehension, in people that have mild traumatic brain injury. Lexical semantic retrieval allows for the retrieval of word meaning. The current study involves measuring brain function via neural oscillations during a resting state EEG analysis and correlating oscillatory power with performance on the Boston Naming Test. The oscillations that will be examined are theta (4-8 Hz) and gamma frequencies (30-100 Hz) because they are linked to the storage and retrieval of long-term memory, which is related to lexical semantic retrieval. Using the Boston Naming test will allow us to assess the patient’s ability of word retrieval. It is important to investigate differences in brain network connectivity after traumatic brain injury as new therapeutic techniques may become possible with a deeper understanding of how mTBI changes brain function. If I can correlate performance on the Boston Naming Test to neural network activity at rest then it will provide insight into how changes in neural communication, measured by brain oscillations, impacts lexical semantic retrieval in mild traumatic brain injury.


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